Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Funny People: A Review, an Indictment

I understand that the recent Judd Apatow movie Funny People is a drama, not a comedy. I'm okay with that. However, seeing as the drama centers on stand-up comedians, I had at least hoped the stand-up scenes would be funny.

They are not. In fact, they are mostly painful.

And let me get this straight--Adam Sandler plays a mega-millionaire comedian who decides to hire an unknown total loser (Seth Rogen), whom every single person in the movie thinks is not funny--including Sandler, to write jokes for him?

I don't get it...

Nor do I buy either of the two romances orbiting around the predictable bromance. Why exactly did Apatow's wife ever love Adam Sandler? Why does she fall for him again?

Worse than the Sandler/Apatow's Wife romance is the Seth Rogen/Nerdy Girl romance. Huh? She has no interest in him, fucks his roommate, they talk about it once, they have an awkward conversation at a party, he disappears for a few days...and then they're suddenly sitting on the hood of a Jeep Wrangler we've never seen, kissing while looking out over the city atop Runyon Canyon? Why? Because it was written in the script? Seth Rogen is still ugly, fat, horrible with girls, and possesses every single incorrect instinct one person could ever have--what makes the girl change her mind? I guess that's not important to the story...

Whatever, right? At least we have Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman as Rogen's buddies, to inject some much-needed comic relief into the affair. Hmmm...too bad I never laughed once at anything they ever said or did...

Don't even get me started on Seth Rogen's (and by extension, Judd Apatow's) obsession with talking about his balls. Who in God's name gives a fucking SHIT about what this guy has to say about his balls, or anybody else's balls? I GET IT--he has been obsessed with his useless penis since grade school (guess whose drawings those were in Superbad...) and when he was a teenaged stand-up comic in Canada people must have thought it was funny since he was so nerdy and fat and clearly obsessed with his dick.

Confidential to Seth Rogen: It's not funny anymore, Seth--you need to either grow up or have somebody else write you some better material.

Oye. Anyway, enough about how much this movie and Seth Rogen suck. Let's talk about the bigger issue here--Judd Apatow.

He has been hailed as a comic genius, the man who saved comedy, etc, but let us peruse the evidence before we disagree:

Freaks & Geeks (1999-2000) -- The cult-hit TV show that put him on the map. I found it boring, annoyingly ridiculous, and not funny.

Undeclared (2001-2003)-- Another TV show that wasn't any good and, like Freaks & Geeks, was canceled after about 17 episodes. He wrote and executive produced both shows, as well as directing a few episodes of each. What can we learn from this? He shouldn't have a TV show.

Luckily for him, people tend to fail upward in Hollywood--and he made it to the silver screen.

Apatow later went on to:

- Produce Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) -- Tolerable, but definitely not good

- Executive Produce Kicking and Screaming (2005) -- Awful, as is everything Noah Baumbach has made (even The Squid and the Whale was only memorable for wasting a great performance from Jeff Daniels)

- Write/Direct/Produce The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005) -- Probably his best movie, but still not that good

- Write Fun with Dick and Jane (2005) -- 29% on Rotten Tomatoes

- Produce Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) -- Awful.

- Write/Direct/Produce Knocked Up (2007) -- So pointless, boring, unrealistic, and unfunny I couldn't believe this movie could be as bad as it was

- Produce Superbad (2007) -- Probably the best thing he's ever been associated with and the project he did the least amount of work on. Coincidence?

- Write and Produce Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) -- Has anyone ever said a good thing about this movie? Did anyone see this movie?

- Produce Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) -- Haven't seen this one, but it got better reviews than all the rest. Script by Jason Segel; star turn by Jason Segel; directed by Nicholas Stoller; credit to Apatow for having the magic touch!

- Produce Drillbit Taylor (2008) -- The movie that made Owen Wilson try to commit suicide. Is there anything else to say, really? My favorite reviewer's quote so far: "Aggressively bland."

- Produce Step Brothers (2008) -- 3 for 3 x2 He really has a knack for wasting John C. Reilly and producing Will Farrell's worst movies. Hmmm...

- Write You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008) -- Adam Sandler's worst movie ever? And that is a very competitive category, mind you...

- Produce and Co-Write the story for Pineapple Express (2008) -- I enjoyed this the first time around, when I probably would have laughed at anything; upon second viewing, I was embarrassed for myself.

- Produce Year One (2009) -- I'd rather watch Ass: The Movie

- Write/Direct/Executive Produce Funny People -- Atrocious. And pointless.

In fact, that is the word that comes up the most when I think about Judd Apatow's movies--pointless. None of them ever warrant a second viewing, none of them ever really say anything, none of them have a compelling plot, none of them are ever really very funny.

So what, then, is the point?

Apatow has been a key player in some of the WORST movies of the last 5 years: Year One, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Funny People, Drillbit Taylor, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights...and he has 13 more projects in the pipeline, officially (including a Sherlock Holmes comedy starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Holmes and Will Ferrell as Watson that I will not be watching).

I know some of his movies made some money, but none of them were HUGE hits. Is that really all it takes to rule Hollywood with an iron fist these days?

So sad...


1 comment:

Karl said...

Ah, nothing like the sunny optimism of Goodtime Charlie to start the day!

yeah, big problem with Funny People: none of the people were actually funny. I remember when dick jokes were the hottest shit in the world... I think it was around 7th grade.